HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THIRTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2021
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO COMPOSTING.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that the use of composted organic waste benefits farmers, enhances soil health and its ability to sequester carbon, and reduces waste going into landfills and the subsequent methane emitted by this waste. Compost stores macro- and micro-nutrients that improve the health of all soils in ways that protect and enhance natural systems, while imported, petroleum-based and energy-intensive fertilizers destabilize a healthy soil microbiome.
The legislature acknowledges that actions taken to improve soil health as a means to reverse climate change support Hawaii's goal, as outlined in the Aloha+ Challenge, of a seventy per cent reduction in the State's solid waste stream. Although the exact percentage varies from island to island, organic waste constitutes the largest single component of Hawaii's waste stream and accounts for at least fifty per cent of the materials discarded each year, including food, food-contaminated paper, and yard trimmings. As grassroots initiatives like the city and county of Honolulu's recent single-use plastic ban expand statewide, and as businesses voluntarily adopt earth-friendly plastic substitutes, the percentage of organic waste in the waste stream will grow, making the diversion of organic waste into composting programs the least costly and most direct method for the State to meet its solid waste reduction goals.
The legislature further finds that because organic waste in landfills is the largest source of human-generated methane, a potent greenhouse gas twenty-eight to thirty-six times more effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere over a hundred-year period, the diversion of organic waste into composting programs offers the best method to significantly reduce the amount of methane emitted from Hawaii's landfills. Scientific studies demonstrate that, because healthy soils are capable of holding twice the carbon stocks of plants, the key to building soil carbon sequestration capacity lies in building healthy soil.
The legislature also notes the economic benefits that accrue to Hawaii's farmers when they are able to include compost sales to their income streams.
Accordingly, the purpose of this Act is to establish a class of artisan-scale composting operations that are sited on land zoned as industrial or agriculture and exempt from department of health regulations to support local farmers and address the need to expands the State's capacity for capturing and processing organic waste to reduce landfill waste.
SECTION 2. Chapter 342H, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:
"§342H- Artisan-scale composting program. (a) There is established within the department a
class of artisan-scale composting operations that shall be:
(1) Sited on land
zoned as industrial or agricultural; and
(2) Exempt from department
compost permitting requirements;
provided that these operations do not produce
vectors, dust, or odors that unreasonably impact neighbors of the operation, as
determined by the department; provided further that no waste accepted shall remain
on-site for more than thirty-six months.
No more than one exempt facility
specified in this section shall be located on geographically contiguous land
owned or operated by the same person. Sufficient
bulking agent shall be used to provide proper aeration and control leachate migration.
(b) In order to maintain the compost permitting exemption, artisan composters shall maintain documentation demonstrating compliance with this section. Documentation shall include but not be limited to the amount and type of waste accepted and when and where the finished compost is land-applied. Artisan composters shall make records available for department review upon request.
(c) For purposes of this section, "artisan-scale" means a composting operation
that accepts, measured on a monthly average, no more than one cubic yard of green
waste or yard trimmings, agricultural plant materials, vegetable and fruit waste,
or coffee grounds and tea leaves per month at a site controlled and owned by the
waste generator with the finished compost applied and controlled by the same waste
SECTION 3. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
Organic Waste; Composting; Artisan-scale Composting Operations; Department of Health
Establishes a class of artisan-scale composting operations exempt from department of health regulations to divert organic materials from Hawaii's landfills.
The summary description
of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is
not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.